tate'squeensJohn Parks of Legendary Rock Interviews spoke singer Geoff Tate about the Queensryche drama, lawsuits and click tracks. Portions of interview appear below.

LRI: Hi Geoff, thanks for talking with us. This whole situation and court battle over Queensryche is something most of us could never have forseen back in the 90s but yet here we are talking about it sadly enough. Is there ever a day where the whole drama just doesn’t even enter your head?

Geoff Tate: Oh yeah, quite often (laughs). Yeah, yeah….You know, initially, the first few months that this all started happening was a very difficult time but I’ve kind of gotten past that now and am in a much better place now where things seem a lot more brighter. I had my new solo album, Kings And Thieves and the tour supporting that and that helped, just playing shows and supporting that. I never even think about the former lineup at this point, of course they launched a lawsuit against me that I won basically and from then on, I really haven’t thought about it too much. Our court date isn’t until November, 2013 so I basically have until then until all of that is officially decided, which is quite a ways from now. A lot of water is going to go under the bridge before then, definitely.

LRI: You surprised more than a few fans in recent months with your statements that you wouldn’t be opposed to sitting down in a room and just trying to talk rationally with those guys. On an obviously much less important note I have noticed that those guys are often not that accessible from a publicity end. We have reached out numerous times to both Michael Wilton and were actually scheduled to talk to Scott Rockenfield but both times have come up empty-handed. Have you also found a series of unending emails or found them pretty difficult to reach directly? (laughs)

Geoff: (laughs) Yeah, that’s pretty much been my experience over the years. That doesn’t surprise me. You know John, you’ve probably recognized the fact that I have probably done 99 percent of the interviews over the course of Queensryche’s career. There’s a reason for that, there was a reason for that when I talked to you for the last album and there’s been a reason for that our entire career; I’ve been incredibly careful and diligent about presenting our image in a certain way. I’m recognized, pretty universally, as the spokesperson for the band and there’s a reason for that (laughs). I can reliably do my interviews and put a sentence together and I think I have a very good handle on what it is that I am trying to do within the band as the band leader. I have always thought that we were collectively on the same page about this over the years so when they fired me it came as a complete shock. It was like a kick upside the head that I wasn’t expecting at all, especially at this point in our career where we’ve been a successful band for 30 plus years and have a very respected name around the world. Why in the world would any SANE people launch this whole shakeup and fire everybody who is your support system and everyone who’s involved with you, cancel all your income for the year and cut your head off by firing the face and voice of your band. They have basically sliced their own throat and rubbed the name of the band in the dirt in this quest of theirs and have no sane reason why such madness was necessary. It doesn’t make any sense. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what their whole plan is, what is their plan after the court date, it just doesn’t make any sense.

LRI: I have heard you say that you think the whole lawsuit really has a lot to do with money and they have mentioned it was also creative differences. Your wife and daughter worked for the organization and were also fired, did they just get the feeling there were too many Tates in the kitchen?

Geoff: You know, when you have a group of people, you need a leadership in place and set up efficiently, somebody has to do it.

LRI: Had you heard internet rumors that they were using your tapes while Todd La Torre was performing at some of the earlier shows? That sounds insane.

Geoff: Oh yeah, but to be honest, that’s pretty evident. Queensryche has always used click tracks and backing vocals on the live presentations because Eddie can’t really sing and we haven’t had a decent singer in the band doing backgrounds since Chris left. In order to pull off the music you have to layer my voice in there so they used that and when they fired me and started doing shows they used the backing tracks that have guitar parts and keyboard parts and backing vocals. Honestly, I’m a lot happier doing what I’m doing now and my new bandmates and I hope that they’re happier doing what they’re doing. We are going to be performing all fifteen tracks of Operation Mindcrime as well as a great deal of additional material and based on the rehearsals I don’t think you or anyone else is going to want to miss it. I just wish that the three of them could have handled it all in a much more civilized way and just sat down like men in a room and said “Look, the three of us want to go in a different direction. We’ve had a good run, 30 years, how can we make this split happen in a way that we all look good and take care of the employees who have been with us all these years, how can we make it right?” There was no conversation like that, there was none of that. How can you treat people who have worked their asses off for you at below industry standard pay for all these years and just fire them via a letter? That is so cold, corporate and heartless. It is just unbelievable to me that they are now these kinds of people, the three of them are bad people, really, to do that kind of thing. What is so difficult about sitting in a room and talking about our situation unless you’re just so vindictive and mean that your only goal is to screw everybody. People are judged by their actions and I think their actions are very telling as to what kind of people they are.

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  • scott gul on

    Tate…your solo album sucks, your can’t sing anymore bro…you sound terrible….Sorry, used to be a fan. I’m goin with La Torre,The new ‘Ryche stuff sounds wicked…not like theU2 stuff your playin.

  • Don on

    ..’we haven’t had a decent singer in the band doing backgrounds since Chris left’. Geoff you haven’t had a decent song on a Queensryche LP since Chris Left. Hell you haven’t had a decent singer period since Chris left. Your voice was shot after Promised Land, and that last attempt at Caberet you called a Ryche album was more disrespectful to the band’s name than anything the other four guys are doing right now. I have no interest in hearing what you and the Sarzo brothers put out there. Are you going to start singing Cum on Feel the Noize as an encore now at your shows? At least people would recognize that song over the list of ‘Tate-only’ written songs you’ve tried to sing over the last few years.

  • Kelly on

    I was a die hard fan up to and including Mindcrime 1 – I was truly saddened by the quality of the material that had come out from Empire on – it seems that the band abandoned their metal roots as well as the older fans, without whom they would not have had a recording contract. Live shows rarely included older material, and if it did, it was a medly or the dynamic of the song was changed to the point it was barely recognizable. If Tate wants to lay claim (and take the blame) for the last 20 years worth of material, I say let him. I personally am looking forward to seeing the Todd LaTorre version of the band and enjoy hearing some of my favorite songs live with my 2 best friends from back in the day. I will however be passing on yet another incarnation of Mindcrime on the road – I’ve had enough of Geoff Tate. The man has become so infatuated with himself, it is truly distasteful and it shows.

  • mike on

    I’m always surprised at the level of stupidity. “Im looking forward to hearing my favorite songs”. Nitwit. That was 30 years ago!! The beauty of a band that has been around so long is their constant evolution. If that isn’t present than it just regurgitation! I love TLT as a vocalist w Crimson Glory, but i wouldn’t be sad to hear that they all died in a horrible bus crash. I’d only wish they could have taken their nitwit, mindless fans with them.

    • Don on

      You’re the ‘Nitwit’ Mike. Dying in a bus crash – real nice. Maybe you should get on the bus instead. People who want to hear the music they grew up to 30 years ago isn’t being a ‘nitwit’. That’s being a fan and being someone who helped get the band where they are/were. If you want to hear Tate’s cabaret music, good for you. The rest of us want to hear what Ryche used to be, not what they are now. Tate is ‘evolving’ into Geoff Tate/solo artist. He is no longer the voice of Ryche – mostly cause he can’t sing anymore. The rest of us want to hear the band that we have supported for 30 years. Everyone has a right to post their comments – even stupid ones like yours. Need some bus fare?

  • Jason McClellan on

    I’ve been a fan of QueensrYche from the beginning. I’ve seen them open for Def Leppard in 88 and they put on a stellar show that rivaled Def Leppard imo. This whole thing reaks of passive aggresive behavior on the band imo. I’m basing this on what I’ve read in interviews online from both camps and it seems to me that the vast majority of the mudslinging has come from the bands end. It reminds me of what happened in Pink Floyd and Van Halen. Whether or not Geoff is an egotistical jerk is a moot point. At their level of success and the genre of music that they play, there is plenty of out of control ego to go around I’m sure from all band members. The bottom line for me is that Geoff and Chris were the MAJOR creative forces in the group from the beginning. They were just a metal cover band before they pursued and asked Geoff to join. It was Geoff’s insistence that they start writing original music. Now Geoff and Chris are both gone and to me it seems like like they’re just a self parody band now. Now having said all this if there’s people out there that like the LaTorre fronted group you’re more than entitled to that, different strokes ya know? I’m not trying to change anyone’s opinion or say that they are wrong. These are just my observances and opinions based on 30 years of being a fan and being a working musician. I listened to both the self titled album from the LaTorre version and Geoff’s F.U. They’re both paled in comparison to the classic records BUT imo I like Geoff’s version better. It’s a subjective thing and it’s no use going into the details. Metal fans are a fickle bunch. I just read an interview with Vinnie Paul: he says ‘people are selfish, man, They want what they want; they don’t care what you(the artist) wants.’ I can’t sum it up any better than that. Geoff is obviously an artist that doesn’t like to rest on his laurels and wants to expand his creative horizons and I applaud him for that. There’s alot of criticism of his voice being bandied about. In a review for the ‘Cabaret’ tour in 2012 The reviewer wrote about Tate’s robust singing “(he has no trouble hitting all those high notes with full power)”. Is this guy wrong? People don’t realize how hard it is to be a singer in a band like that and have to hit those high register notes night after night on a regular basis. I’ve seen 1000’s of metal shows and it’s been a hit and miss affair when it comes to the vocals and I understand and accept that. It remains to be seen if the LaTorre band can #1 reach the commercial heights of success that the Geoff band did(more power to them if they do) and if so #2 he’ll be able to sing as consistently after an 18 month tour. As far as the business end controversy, Tate’s wife managed the group for years and they all went along with it. For the people out there thinking it’s not cool to have your wife manage the band all I have to say is Ozzy and Sharon. Do you think Ozzy’s band get’s the same amount of money as Ozzy? From what I’ve read over the years QueensrYche has always been a close family based band from the get go. Now on one side of there mouths the band is complaining that Geoff’s wife is making bad deals and losing the band money which doesn’t make any sense to me. Then out the other side they’re saying Geoff is impeding the band’s creative control so Geoff can make more money. Which is it? You can’t have it both ways. According to Geoff it was the band that tried to sell they’re lucrative merchandising business to a 3rd party. Plus they cleared house with all the other business entities according to Geoff so who knows? I have to side with Geoff because of this point that he made. Why shake the boat at this point in the game? Queensryche’s commercial glory days are way behind them and nobody is going to get them back to it period. It was Geoff’s and Chris’s creative vision that got them to this point. If you’re unsatisfied creatively why not just go with a side project? Why screw the guy that got you where you are and insult his family whether the guy’s a prick or not? Two wrongs don’t make a right. That’s just my .02.

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